It did not start out so severe. In high school I used to go weeks where I would set goals about what I would not eat. I was a competitive cheerleader and it always seemed to fall right before a competition where I would have to wear a cropped uniform. “These next two weeks I am not eating sugar at all.” Then I would last about a day or two then eat one thing with sugar in it and feel guilty and end up giving up my “goal.” This began my bad relationship with food.
I believed that if I wanted my body to look good in a uniform I needed to restrict myself. That restriction continued as I became a college cheerleader at Navarro. Not only did I practice everyday in a sports bra but now there were cameras on us at all times. I wanted to be skinny and no matter how much I weighed, I always desired to be skinnier. I began to think that I just needed to not eat any food to look good. I would restrict myself throughout the day, weighing myself frequently, and then when night came around I would be so hungry that I began to binge eat. I would eat so much, stuffing my face until I felt sick. I had no self control because I restricted myself so badly. After some time of this cycle I began to force myself to throw up the food. After dinner, the bathroom was always the next place I went.
The worst part was this was normal. The people that knew I threw up were either also struggling with an eating disorder or though it was normal. I remember one time telling a friend that I was struggling and wanted to stop the cycle and they said “everyone has an eating disorder.” So I began to believe that it was just a part of life. Let me get something clear before going on. Having an eating disorder is not normal. AT ALL. God did not create our bodies for us to despise them. And He definitely did not create our bodies for us to torture them.
Fast forward to a couple months later, I went with a teammate to pick up some dinner to take back to the dorms. I vividly remember ordering a kids corn dog meal. We were eating and I expressed that I wanted to be skinnier and was scared of what I was going to look like in a uniform. “Well maybe you should eat healthier then,” they said. A sucker punch to the gut. The toxic thoughts began, “well if my friend said that then I must be fat.” “I should not have even ordered anything.” Followed by tears and running to the bathroom. I remember crying the silent, gut wrenching, sob as I threw up my dinner. I sat there feeling completely worthless, crying out to God. I prayed that this would be the last time I made myself throw up. It was. The next day I woke up, stopped saying the lies of the devil and started calling them out for what they are. Lies.
Just because I have not forced myself to throw up after this does not mean I haven’t had bad days. In order to believe the truth of who God created me to be I knew I had to choose that every single day. I had to choose to pick up my Bible to fight off the lies. I had to choose to reach out to someone on hard days for prayer or encouragement. I had to choose to be vulnerable in order to heal.
When the thoughts in my head began about my weight or look I would proclaim truth over myself. God created me beautifully and wonderfully. I wrote Godly affirmations on my mirror every morning and repeated them to myself so I filled my mind with the truth.
There were 3 main aspects of my healing…
1. The Bible and Prayer
The Bible is a book that holds the truth of who you are. Reading the Bible fills you with truth that you can use to overcome the lies of the devil. For me reading the Bible every morning sets me up to overcome the lies each day. Consistently reading the Bible is key in every battle you are facing. Time in the Word of God is vital but so is time in prayer. Pray big prayers. When I felt tempted to go back to the eating disorder I simply ran to God. I had a conversation with Him expressing how I felt. This is so comforting knowing the Lord is always waiting with arms wide for you to run to Him.
2. The People and Environment
I walked away from being a college cheerleader and moved home to heal. That was one of the hardest decisions but I knew I needed to be with my family. I knew that in order to heal I needed to seek out a christian counselor who helped me work through it all. I sought out a mentor who I zoomed with every single week. I surrounded myself with friends who encouraged me and prayed for me. Your environment is made up of the people around you. If you are in a place where you constantly feel discouraged or beaten up, search for people who will build you up. A small group at your church is a great place to start.
3. My Beliefs about Food and Exercise
In 1 Corinthians 6:20 we are called to glorify God with our bodies. Our bodies are a gift, a true blessing. Our bodies carry us throughout our days. Instead of torturing my body and fighting against it I started nourishing it. It is time to take the labels off food. There is no good or bad food. Food was given to us to nourish our bodies. Obviously there are more nutrients in vegetables than ice cream or cookies but that does not mean ice cream is a bad food. I am a huge sweets person so instead of telling myself I can not have any sweets I just make sure I get a good balanced meal first. I do not go to bed one night without some type of dessert because I simply enjoy them. Restriction led me to guilt so I stopped restricting myself from certain foods. I used to exercise for hours on hours to simply lose weight. I changed my mindset. Working out is a way to honor God by moving the bodies He gave us. I am not a personal trainer where I encourage others to workout for the right reason. To honor Him. To move and take care of our bodies.
As you see through my testimony it started as one small toxic thought the devil put in my head and it went into a vicious, downward spiral. One lie of the devil can lead to a downward spiral if you let it. Choose to believe THE truth. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (psalm 139:14). You are beautiful. You are worthy. You are so dang loved.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder, please seek professional help. You are so worthy of being healed. Praying for your friend.
Kassidy a personal trainer and owns her own online training business called total transformation fitness where her fiancé and her encourage their clients both physically and spiritually. She gets married in may! She loves trying new food and moving her body is her favorite part of her day!